THE PACIFIC: The Warriors That HBO Forgot - Black Soldiers In the Pacific
, World War II
, American Heroes
, Steven Spielberg
, Tom Hanks
, Iwo Jima
, Numa-Numa Trail
, Leonard Roy Harmon
, Naval Battle
, Purple Heart
, Navy Cross
, New Guinea
Run time 8 minutes 1 secondsProducer Ronald David JacksonAudio/Visual sound, color
NOTE: THIS VIDEO PLAYS AT 720 x 480 RESOLUTION
It took me less than 5 minutes to find these photographs and accompanying information online. So why are blacks almost (if not completely) absent from HBO's 10-part series?
The HBO Series, "The Pacific" was produced by Steven Spielberg & Tom Hanks. HBO is a billion-dollar corporation, Tom Hanks is a multi-millionaire and Steven Spielberg is a virtual billionaire-- Are we to believe they could not afford a professional group of researchers and that they didn't know about the role that American blacks played in the Pacific during World War II?
This was a deliberate omission. Such omissions distort the facts and add to the often bigoted misconception of the role of blacks in American history. We need to know why Hollywood and HBO believes you can only tell a story about heroic men during World War II if the cast is kept almost exclusively white. Spielberg and Hanks need to explained why they deliberately decided to relegate blacks to "minor" or NO roles in a 10-part HBO series about war in "The Pacific."
THIS SLIDE SHOW AND DRUM MIX IS DEDICATED TO MY FATHER, WILFRED JACKSON, AND TO THE OTHER BLACK MEN AND WOMEN WHO SERVED IN THE PACIFIC DURING WORLD WAR II.
[Sources: Department of Defense & Smithsonian Institute]
BLACKS WERE DELIBERATELY LEFT OUT OF "THE PACIFIC"
Noted novelist and screen writer, George Pelecanos, worked on "The Pacific" early during its production. The issue of the absence of blacks in the 10-part series was raised. Pelecanos explains how the folks on the production team expressed the same old uninformed opinions on the role of blacks in the Pacific during World War II and how there was a conscious decision to leave blacks out of the series. His comments were recounted in a story written by Carlo Rotella and published in the "Washington Post."
"Pelecanos told me a story about a script meeting for 'The Pacific,' HBO's companion piece to its World War II combat miniseries 'Band of Brothers.' One reason he accepted the invitation to write for 'The Pacific,' which is scheduled to air in 2009, was to honor his father's service to his country, but that didn't cause him to shy away from ugly complexity. 'Somebody at this meeting brings up the fact that we don't have any black major characters, and then somebody else says that the military was still segregated, and blacks were often forced to do menial jobs instead of fighting. So, I said, how about a scene in which the guys are watching black soldiers clean up the bodies on a landing beach, and they say, 'Look at those niggers. They've got it so easy, they never have to fight'? These are the heroes, characters we care about, and yet they're saying these terrible things, because that's true to what it would have been like.' It was too much, even for HBO. 'There was this long pause,' during which the rest of the creative team considered presenting the heroes of the Greatest Generation as bigots. 'Nobody said a word, and after a while they just went on to something else like I'd never spoken.'"
The article is available HERE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/15/AR2008071502119_pf.html
CLINT EASTWOOD WAS INFORMED ABOUT THE ROLE OF BLACK SOLDIERS DURING THE BATTLE OF IWO JIMA BUT CHOSE TO DELIBERATELY LEAVE THEM OUT OF HIS FILM, "FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS"
If Spielberg and Hanks were serious about doing their homework on the role of black soldiers in the Pacific, they would have easily found the story of US Marine, Thomas McPhatter. McPhatter's harrowing experiences on the beach of Iwo Jima was recounted in a newspaper article written by Dan Glaister in "The Guardian" in 2006. The title of the article speaks volumes: "Where have all the black soldiers gone? African-Americans written out of Pacific War in Clint Eastwood's new film, veterans say." The name of Eastwood's film was "Flags of our Fathers" and apparently Eastwood only wanted to honor WHITE fathers.
Black veteran of Iwo Jima, Thomas McPhatter, sums up what many black World War II veterans feel about being left out of this important segment of American history. Speaking to the UK reporter about Clint Eastwood's film ("The Guardian" is published in the UK) McPhatter says, "This is the last straw. I feel like I've been denied, I've been insulted, I've been mistreated. But what can you do? We still have a strong underlying force in my country of rabid racism."
In the article, researcher Melton McLaurin points out that there were "hundreds of black soldiers on Iwo Jima from the first day of the 35-day battle." In fact, the record shows that almost 900 blacks took part in the battle of Iwo Jima. McLaurin explains how the white photographers who were there refused to film the black fighting men.
The "Guardian" article provides details of Thomas McPhatter's experiences on Iwo Jima. McPhatter survived Iwo Jima, went on to serve in Viet Nam and rose to the rank of lieutenant commander in the US Navy.
Writers and researchers wrote to Clinton Eastwood while he was working on his film and virtually begged him to include black soldiers in "Flags of Our Fathers." Eastwood ignored them.
Read the entire story HERE: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/oct/21/usa.filmnews
MANY WONDER WHY BLACKS TEND TO DISAPPEAR IN HOLLYWOOD AND MADE-FOR-CABLE FILMS ABOUT WORLD WAR II
Here is a review of "The Pacific" written by Sergio published on a website called "Shadow And Act: On Media Of The African Diaspora – Emphasis On Cinema." Like me, Sergio wants to know why blacks were excluded from HBO's "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific."
Read Sergio's review HERE: http://www.shadowandact.com/?p=19286
MANY WHITES (AND BLACKS) ARE COMPLETELY UNAWARE OF THE ROLE BLACKS PLAYED IN WORLD WAR II (AND OTHER WARS). THIS IS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE KINDS OF FILMS STILL BEING PRODUCED BY HOLLYWOOD AND CABLE TELEVISION.
Here is an online discussion of the role (or assumed NON-role) that blacks played in World War II. This discussion comes from the comment section of a blog published in "Houston Belief. It is fascinating in that few of the people posting comments seem to have a clue about the actual role blacks played in the Pacific during World War II. The comments contain many of the same old stereotypes of black soldiers only serving in menial positions in the military during World War II:
You can view the discussion HERE: http://blogs.chron.com/believeitornot/2010/03/war_movies_that_got_it_right_f.html
START A DISCUSSION ABOUT THIS TOPIC: Post this video on your blog, website, myspace, facebook, or twitter. Show it in your school and discuss it with your fellow teachers and/or students.
Follow Ronald David Jackson on twitter: http://twitter.com//ronaldjackson
January 29, 2015
African Americans need to get credit
This is an eye-opening look at African Americans in WW2. Many served there and none get credit it seems. I recently found 4 photos of African American soldiers from the Battle of Buna in New Guinea. Your photos are the only other ones I've found that have any photos of blacks in New Guinea and there is no other information of them being there. The National Archives did burn down in 1973 however and took much of the files with it concerning WW2 so these photos are the only proof that any blacks were there.